Pakistani producers lobby against upcoming Salman Khan-starrer to safeguard interests of local Eid releases
LAHORE: The Pakistan Film Distributors Association and the Pakistan Film Producers Association, along with various local film-makers, are actively trying to stall the release of Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’s next Eid offering Tubelight, citing the Pakistani films scheduled to release at the same time as their motive. The officials want to protect the interests of the local projects which are likely to lose out if Tubelight takes over.
According to the protesters, local legislation forbids the release of any Indian film on a Muslim holiday, as was decided by the Federal Ministry of Information back in 2010. In fact, they are even planning to take the matter to court, should they need to. As per sources, the Ministry had given directives to stop the release of Tubelight and Vidya Balan’s Begum Jaan well in advance. At the same time, rumour has it that Tubelight’s producers might just delay its release as it seems unlikely that the film will be completed before Eid.
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It is pertinent to mention here that two Pakistani films have already been announced for Eidul Fitr, namely Yalghaar and Shor Sharaba. There is also a chance of more films being added to the Eid list. Unfortunately, their box office revenue will get severely affected by the Salman and Kabir Khan collaboration, which has previously delivered massively successful films like Ek Tha Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
“Indian films dominate our box office the whole year round. It’s only fair that Eid – being a Muslim festival – should not be. Besides, as Pakistanis, we must support the release of local content first,” Sohail Khan, producer of Shor Sharaba, told The Express Tribune. “Shor Sharaba is supposed to release on Eidul Fitr and if the government doesn’t stall Tubelight, I will not release my film as a protest.”
According to sources, the first move will be to try and prevent Tubelight from being given a NOC and for this, the associations are planning to write an official letter to the Prime Minister as well. Also, they recently held a meeting in Lahore wherein it was decided that the entire Pakistani film industry – even its technicians and other less prominent members – will join the planned protest to stop Tubelight from being released on Eid.
“It’s been decided that all those related to the Pakistani film industry will support the Pakistani films that are supposed to release on Eidul Fitr,” confirmed film-maker Altaf Hussain.
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Even Ch Ejaz Kamran, chairman of the Pakistan Film Distributors Association, it would be “cruel” to force local films into competing with a Bollywood blockbuster. “Allowing Tubelight to release on Eid is 100% against the interest of local cinema, which is already struggling financially,” he stated. “There will be a boycott on Indian films from our side.”
According to senior actor Mustafa Qureshi, the government should always give top priority to local projects. “I have always maintained that there should be a complete ban on Indian films,” he said.
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